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Italy fishermen held by Libya return home at last December 20,2020   |  Source: AP

Eighteen Italian fishermen, who were seized in September by Libyan authorities in a fishing dispute before being freed last Thursday, arrived home in Sicily on Sunday.The fishermen arrived in Mazara del Vallo aboard the "Antartide" and the "Medinea", their two fishing vessels, escorted by the Italian navy.After disembarking, the fishermen met their relatives and families and left Mazara del Vallo to return to their homes.

The fishermen were all tested for coronavirus aboard their vessels. None tested positive.

Libya has been split between rival governments since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Authorities loyal to Libya's eastern military commander, Khalifa Hifter, seized the vessels more than three months ago and brought the crew to Benghazi, saying they were fishing in Libyan maritime waters.

Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler, has been a staunch backer of the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, Hifter's foe, but has also worked to negotiate a peace deal between the warring factions.

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